Raising Hope for Italian Earthquake Survivors
By: Sam Houghton, June 20, 2012
ELISE HUGUS - Jim Lavin (left), organizer of Saturday's "Raising Hope" fundraiser for survivors of the earthquakes in Northern Italy, stands with Andrea Poggi, co-owner of Osteria La Civetta on Main Street in Falmouth. His wife and business partner, Sara Tosselli, joins the two by video chat from her hometown of Cento, Italy, where she is helping with disaster relief efforts.
The Main Street Falmouth restaurant Osteria La Civetta will hold an earthquake relief benefit concert for the region of Emilia-Romagna, Italy, on Saturday, June 23 to assist the owners' relatives and thousands of other residents affected by a May 20 earthquake and aftershocks that have devastated the region.
The fundraiser will take place at Grumpy’s Pub from noon to 6 PM, featuring such musical acts as Boston’s Dub Apocalypse, as well as local bands The Dune Billy All-Stars, the John Beninghof Trio and Jim Decatur and the Future.
Pay it forward...
Saturday, June 23 from noon to 6 PMGrumpy's Pub 22 Locust Street, Falmouth
Featuring Dub Apocalypse, The Dune Billy All-Stars, Jim Decatur & The Future, The John Beninghof Trio
Tickets are $10 and can be purchased now at La Civetta, Grumpy's or at the door of the show.
There will also be a silent auction and raffle prizes.
This is the second fundraiser the restaurant has held, the first being a four-day benefit dinner in May that raised over $5,000 to purchase food, tents and supplies for the relief effort.
Restaurant co-owner Sara Toselli has since flown to her hometown of Cento, the main city in the Ferrare region heavily hit by the earthquake, to assist with recovery efforts.
“We are not going to sit down and wait for money to rain from the sky,” Toselli wrote in an e-mail this week from Italy. “Everybody here is trying to get back to work, trying to get businesses running and to fix things as fast as possible.”
Emilia-Romagna has been considered one of the most developed regions in Europe, built on the strength of its restaurant and tourism industry. Its most famous buildings, the historic Palazzo dei Veneziani and the Castello delle Rocche in Finale Emilia, have been destroyed, as well as countless churches, factories and rural homes.
Whether or not the region will be able to regain its former vitality remains in question, as roughly 20 aftershocks per day continue to cripple relief efforts. An estimated 17,000 people are living in tents one month after the first earthquake hit, too afraid to sleep in their homes for fear of reoccurring major earthquakes.
So far four have struck, the strongest registered at a magnitude of 6.1. By June 5, 25 people had lost their lives in the initial earthquake and the tremors afterward.
“We just don’t know what to expect,” Toselli said. “The government issued a note last Friday saying we have to get ready for more major earthquakes. The general feeling is that things will never get back to normal.”
Spirits are stronger than walls
The money raised from the June 23 concert will go a fundraising effort organized by Mumble Magazine, which says it will use the money to directly benefit people in need. The magazine is using a crowd-sourced fundraising tool similar to Kickstarter and has so far raised 60 percent of its 15,000 euro goal.
As to what Toselli has done while abroad, she is mostly helping friends and family move belongings out of multiple story buildings and driving civil service workers, known as the Alpini, from one camp to the next.
“There is only so much you can do. It is very hard to be hopeful when you can’t go back to your house, and don’t know if you ever will, when buildings that have been here for centuries are gone, or when there will be no schools for the kids in September,” she wrote. “But, as we Emiliani say, you can knock down our walls but not our souls, and we’ll soon get off our knees and start all over.”
Arranged by Jim Lavin, an employee at La Civetta and drummer in The John Beninghof Trio, the concert is an opportunity for Cape Codders to give to the unfortunate people of Emilia-Romagna.